Day 3 : Los Angeles to Las Vegas and More

(Un-edited )
Its about 265 miles (426 KM), and takes about 4 hours, we hope to have lunch at Barstow and Dinner in Las Vegas. We will cut through the Mojave desert and soon enough the coastal temperature is gone, its now dry heat, elevation keeps increasing and the risk of your car heating up is very high.

desert drive

Somewhere along the way, we meet this group of guys.

this are the real biker.. looked like a gang, each man is carrying a woman, as soon as the women saw me taking photos… they pull down/up their blouses to flash me their breasts…. no I don’t have those pictures

We drive for 114 KM just before Barstow we encounter a tiny desert storm, its low visibility and we have to drive slowly, we get to Barstow and decided we need to visit Calico Ghost town, we ask for directions from a store owner and we buy hats, its obvious why cowboys wore this wide brimmed hat, the heat is more bearable, the desert winds increase and so does the dust. After 3 miles off-road, we arrive at Calico Ghost Town.

Welcome to Calico

Cant help it with the picture of Calico

Calico Ghost Town from the top

And another beautiful view of Calico- we obviously love this more than the big cities

Lovely place, its a must see

Then we enter a Salon and have our lunch, we are served our drinks in Jars, as I devour my buffalo meat burger, Bart is still keeping to his diet (this European’s and eating healthy …its is starting to make me question my diets and lifestyle)

I guess cowboys never had glasses…

About 2 hours later we are in Las Vegas and its  as beautiful a city as you would expect, the lights are amazing , we drive around looking for accommodation to the Tropicana and then to hooters, we discover accommodation is very cheap, in a typical 5 stars, you can pay $100 per night, if your are gambling the drinks are free. We are cheap skates we still go to a motel 6, we need to try our hand at gambling later.

We Drive down Las Vegas Boulevard, this is a must do, cant really described it, but the Cesar palace, Bellagio, the cosmopolitan, Planet Hollywood and a small Eiffel tower are all here in majestic display.

Las Vegas Boulevard

We decide to start with the Bellagio, if you watched Brad Pitt & George Cloney on Ocean’s 11, you will understand the fascination, we watch the water displays outside, the little Eiffel tower, the Cesar palace and planet Hollywood all well spread  some  with connecting bridges.

This is another must see.. its very very beautiful

We decide to gamble $50 and within an hour or two, we have made almost $200 and then we lose some and we end up with $150, we call it quits, we are smart investors we know when we have made 200% profit now we have money for dinner.

Then as we leave the Bellagio, a taxi rums right into the back of our lovely red “viper” as we now call it, the car spins 45degrees right in the middle of Las Vegas busiest street, then the second thing happens, in about 45 seconds we have 1 police cruiser on scene, then in 15 seconds after that, there is one more, an ambulance, a fire truck with guys on laptops, an insurance inspection guy who is taking like 6 hundred pictures and then the police on a motor bike shows up and records it all.

An Ambulance arrives and parks next to our red viper

The police cruisers…

The Cruisers .. too afraid to look up , might see Seal 6 parachuting to secure the area at this rate..

All for this scratch on our red viper , Anything bigger than this and we would have had a helicopter and a few drones circling the accident scene, we are surprised we don’t have CSI Las Vegas and the National Guard…, this is a complete overkill and its very intimidating to say the least, but they do their work efficiently and effectively and in an hour we are on our way.

The little scratch on our Red Viper

Enough of Vegas, tempted to stay in Vegas one more night but that would be against the rules of road tripping!!, so enough of Vegas already, we are going to drive to Arizona State and go see the magnificent Grand Canyon, its now Day 4.

Just arrived at Grand Canyon. Good day , need to catch some long needed sleep.

26. August 2013 by @Samgichuru
Categories: Travel & Adventure | Leave a comment

Day 2: Hollywood

We arrived in Hollywood early evening and got booked at the USA Hostel; this is a great place to stay on budget, bed & breakfast is at $38. In 2010 I stayed in San Francisco’s and really had fun.

Its 5 minutes walk to Hollywood Boulevard where the “Stars are Immortalized”

Jimmy Hendrix

and this

At the Chinese theater we find this Jack Sparrow street performers.

Guess I cant steal the Dead Mans Chest from this Jack Sparrow evil twins

We get some Mexican food, walk around a few clubs and see the nightlife.  It’s obvious that the line between reality and fiction is very blur here for most people.

Half naked girls going to the clubs, the plastic surgery, the fake boobs, celebrity wannabes, costumed freaks, skinny hulk, a really tall basketball player, a short Iron man, 3 guys dressed as Batman and somewhere along the way, we meet the Joker going home.

It’s a complete freak show, people have been sold a dream of fame and celebrity lifestyle here and they bought it hook, line and sinker, its funny but in a sad way.

For guys who have traveled widely, we both agree that the Red Light District in Amsterdam looks like a kindergarten compared to this, this is a-bit more shocking than we expected, we feel like villagers, sadly I see this being the same dream being peddled in Nairobi lately, of big wigs and celebrities, take my word for it, it’s a very empty and soulless life and make a point of visiting Hollywood in your life.

The next morning, we wake up and cook breakfast then we drive down the Hollywood boulevard, windows down, blaring some reggae music

Hollywood Boulevard

We get to Venice beach where everyone is trying to catch the perfect wave to surf. We meet some more strangers at the beach, hoping to bump into a celebrity… haha

At Venice Beach

Then am joined by Lora, who just got dressed in pink underwear/diaper by the owner, she likes me.

Then we meet Muthoni and then Fred who are both running shops at the Venice Ocean Front walk, who is a Kenyan selling Curios, am told of some Kenyans managing parking lot around the Venice beach (Fred’s Shop is called Gonzo Africa, pop-in and say hi)

Fred Gonza, at his shop on Venice Beach

We are 3 minutes late and we end up getting a parking ticket; we are back on the road right away and head towards the Mojave Desert, we hope to be in Las Vegas by Dinner.

meter run out at 11:25, we arrived at 11:27 – 2 minutes, wonder if the meter calls the Kanjo Guys in this country .. wewe Kuja mbio…parking ticket pap!


26. August 2013 by @Samgichuru
Categories: Travel & Adventure | Leave a comment

Day 1. Road Trip San Francisco to Los Angeles

Landed in San Francisco, after 20 hours we need some rest, we hook up with Bart Lacroix, my co-founder at both Nailab and 1% Club, We have a couple of meetings in San Francisco but before that we each have 10 days of leave for the year,  we had decided we wanted to do a Road Trip but none of us had any specific plan.

So Day 1. We are going to drive as far as we can in 10 days, that’s sort of silly because we need to come back but well, lets think about that on the way.

What we need is first is to hire a car, so we get this red little thing.

Little Read Car

We hook up this little girl (Pic of GPS), We get lost for 45 minutes trying to get out of San Francisco, we buy some biting’s, water and finally we are on the highway/Freeway

Maria, our Annoying but reliable GPS Device

We have one destination, some place that someone promised Bart he could see whales, its called the Big Sur, also rumor has it that we will believe in God more if we drive along the pacific. Bart has to drive all the way, he drives on the wrong side of the road in Holland anyway like they do here in the States.

Our First stop is at Monterey, a small fishing town on the coast, we have lunch and walk around watching people fish and others in their boats and yachts our focus is the Big Sur, but its getting late and we need a place to sleep.

We end up at Big Sur Camping and cabin and we discover that it will cost us $257 for a cabin, that’s 3 times our daily budget!, then the following conversation takes place.

Guys, it’s ok you can pay $50 for a tent site, we might have one more camping spot opened, do you guys have a tent?

.. No…

mhh no problem, we have a space tent here you guys can use this one, someone left if behind,  You guys have sleeping bags?

… No… (this is the point you feel stupid)

mhh, ok, we have one sleeping bag, but if you drive down the general store you can buy one more for $25, you guys do have blankets .. right

… We look at each other and like little boys shake our heads (now we feel like complete dummys, take note: buy blankets and sleeping bags just incase)

No problem guys, I will get you some foam’s and you will be perfect.

They later found us an extra tent, an extra sleeping bag, nobody smirks, nobody looks at us like we are stupid and unprepared, everybody is very nice, we discover that its almost a culture here after we buy firewood and forget the lighter at the general store… (Don’t laugh)

Before long, we have the two tents figured out and set up

I grew up using paraffin and putting on a Jiko (charcoal stove) trust me lighting a camp fire is a different story, so we bought the wood at the general store, we only forgot to buy the lighter… don’t ask…but our very helpful neighbor who has been comping for 16 years sorted us out in a minute and we had a big camp fire

The expert fire .. dude, forgot the lighter in the store , at-least we had ordered for it

The people at Big Spur are the most friendly people I have met in the world, from the reception staff to the other campers, there is a strong belief here about Karma, “what goes around comes around”, the helped offered is overwhelming, people give you gifts for nothing, they are polite, they ask if you need help, everyone is so friendly, it’s actually spooky, just 4 hours ago we had to pay $50 to store a single bag in San Francisco hotel, here, we have almost everything for free, there is no cellphone reception, they don’t have email and no WIFI.

We wake up the next day, find the new shift and they are as friendly, we bid them bye and drive to the general store, there is an inn next door and we have breakfast with Sergio, he wishes he could join us but he has to work, he wants pictures of cars from Las Vegas, by post because he also does not have email. We are sad to leave Big Sur. But we have to continue, because …we…..are….on…a…road….trip!

I cannot describe the road along the pacific and pictures cannot describe the scene,  it’s breathtaking, the ocean comes to the edge of the mountain / really big hills, the read is between the two, in the horizon unlike other places, the ocean seems join the sky.

Dodge Vipers in Santa Barbara, driven by Senior Citizens, about 4 of them

Here we get to see the Ocean like this…

Bart enjoying the scenic View

Then we find this…. Elephant Seals, one of the last colony, so its not only Kenyans who have a problem with “elephant poaching”

We find a Colony of Seal Elephant Discovered in 1992

After a long beautiful day of driving we just arrived in Los Angeles. We are staying (of course) in the Hollywood neighborhood; booked in at the USA Hostel we are their last customers for the day, 1 or 2 days in Hollywood? Not sure,

Basically we have two choices, one is go Continue South, to beautiful San Diego, (Option A) problem is with our thinking right now, we will end up in Mexico which is 30 minutes from San Diego on the other hand, we have Las Vegas (Option B) this is usually how the movie” hang over starts” …. We go where we get the most suggestions from you.

24. August 2013 by @Samgichuru
Categories: Travel & Adventure | Leave a comment

The 10 Commandments of being a Man

A man should live for something bigger than himself

While I have to answer a lots of questions about how to build startups, lately I have other concerns, one of them is how to help young men become competitive in a society that seems to pay a lot more attention to women / the girl child.

After incubating a good number of young entrepreneurs  mostly men at nailab, I have learned that men who are successful in business have accomplished great success in their day to day living as well, they know what matters most and when it does, after a long protracted discussion with friends on social media @samgichuru and facebook they requested me to write a post about this topic and 2 hours later it had been shared over 100 times, so here it is for future reference.

I have used this as a blue print since I was in my early 20′s and I keep learning and changing as I go along… but read and decide if this is the kind of man you want to be or not…

1. You are not a man because a woman said you’r a real man. You are a man – period. You don’t need validation from women  or other men to affirm your manhood.

2. Make your own fortune: Bring home the bacon or pig. Men don’t settle for handouts, wealthy dads dont count, If you inherit a fortune, then show you are a real man and multiply it 10 times.

3. Pay the bills: With fellow men, contribute your % of the bill, with women, pay the entire bill, which means you take her to the places you can afford… or start calling Maina Kageni early.

4. Make decisions: Ask for advice, consult, but make sure the final decision is yours, good or bad. Nothing is as irritating as an indecisive man even to other men #watermelon

5. Your word, your bond: A man is known for the choices he makes (decisions) and the words he speaks. Say it and mean it, and am not saying be right… When you make a promise, keep it! Men respect men who keep their word, women love them.

6. Follow and Lead: Find someone you can follow, and find someone you can lead. We all follow someone and lead others. You become a better leader when you teach the lessons you learn from following others.

7. Stop idealizing women: Who lied to us that women are perfect?. They are not angels, and the minute you put a halo around her head, you completely fail to notice her flaws. You my friend will call Maina Kageni

8. Being in touch with your feminine side #fail: Ok, every time I meet Christian men coming from Church and they have to say hi, they have a soprano voice, “Hi… It’s so nice to see you!”. Can we stop the nonsense? There is nothing Christian about talking with a high pitch voice. .. Ok, I \_ down.

9. Be Clean! – Scrub twice, rinse, use ka deodorant kidogo. PS: dont smell like a flower, that will send the wrong message

10. Find a spiritual anchor: A man who knows God will always have a very good GPS to find his way back to himself. Finding God does not mean you won’t fail, just means you will get up faster and smarter.

Some or the items here might vary for people from different cultures, but most are common for all, if you are a dude and you agree with this collection then I say share this and add your own guiding rules in the process..

NB: Share and comments allowed.

10. July 2013 by @Samgichuru
Categories: Life, Humor & Moments | Leave a comment

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